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Judge Says 1,000 Potential Jurors May Be Screened For Boston Bombing Trial

A judge in Boston says that some 1,000 pre-trial jurors may be asked to complete a questionnaire for the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in January.

The Boston Herald reports U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole Jr. made the announcement at a status conference on Monday.

The Herald adds:

"Out of the 1,000 potential jurors who will complete questionnaires, about 100 will be questioned before 12 jurors and six alternates are chosen.

"Tsarnaev, who did not attend today's conference, is charged with planting two bombs near the finish line of the marathon with his older brother, Tamerlan, on April, 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 260. He faces 30 counts, with 17 of them carrying the death penalty. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police. MIT officer Sean Collier, 26, was also killed at the start of that manhunt, allegedly by the brothers."

USA Today reports that almost since the outset, one of the big issues in this trial has been the ability to find an impartial jury. Tsarnaev's defense attorneys asked for a change of venue, but O'Toole declined that request, saying "despite the widespread impact of the bombings, the Boston metropolitan area is large enough to generate a sufficient pool of qualified jurors."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.